Friday, February 21, 2014

Q & A with Provider of AUDL Uniforms

The American Ultimate Disc League's exclusive provider for league apparel and uniforms is VC Ultimate - an Ultimate apparel company outfitting the Ulti community since 1998. If you have ever ordered any of VC's quality merch, then you know they will treat you like a pro. VC Sales Director Adriana Withers - who is no stranger to interviews [Skyd, UI, Ultiverse] - took a break during VC's busy season to give some insight on the AUDL uniforms.

SLUDGE: What is your design process for the AUDL uniforms? How long does it usually take from start to finish?
Adriana: The design process for the AUDL uniforms starts with a having each teams complete one of our design briefs, and providing any examples of uniforms that they are inspired by. For the 2014 season, our lead designer actually came up with a couple dozen concepts to use as bases for what we thought were slick, professional looking uniforms. The Vancouver Riptide uniforms are based on these concepts, as an example.

Time to completion completely depends on the comprehensiveness of the designs presented by the team, and their particularness to detail. With some teams, we can take their design brief and be done in a week with only one or two quick rounds of adjustments. Other teams have complex ideas that need to be hashed out over several rounds of art revisions, which can take a few weeks.

SLUDGEHow does this process differ from working with other clients (e.g., club teams)?
Adriana: It's the same process.

SLUDGEHow much input does an AUDL team have in their own uniform(s)?
Adriana: Teams have the final say, 100%. We'd love to have a bit more control in some instances, but really it's the teams and their owners that know the character that their uniforms are to communicate.

SLUDGEAny details/examples on those "instances"...?
Adriana: Ha! Nope.

SLUDGEAre there any AUDL guidelines that must be followed for team uniforms?
Adriana: AUDL logo on the sleeve, VC logo at the nape of the neck. Other than that, the sky's the limit. As for any VC uniform, we wouldn't produce designs based on content that was inappropriate or negative, but that's easy since everything about Ultimate is positive, right?

SLUDGE: What are the biggest challenges when designing a pro Ultimate team's uniform?
Adriana: With every team having their own vision and style, it's difficult to maintain a "look" or "feel" amongst all of the different AUDL team uniforms. From an overall design perspective, we find that difficult because we want the AUDL to have the best line of replica jerseys on the planet. An overarching coherency amongst designs would benefit this. That said, Ultimate uniforms have for years been about team spirit, originality and character – all things that the sport of Ultimate embodies.

SLUDGEAre there any differences in the style of jersey and shorts for an AUDL uniform, compared to what is offered to other Ulti teams?
Adriana: No. If it isn't broken, don't fix it. All teams – professional, youth, pick-up, college, club – receive the same great product and the same stellar service ordering from VC.

SLUDGECan you provide a preview of the 2014 uniforms? Also, are there plans to update any or all of the 2013 teams? 
Adriana: You'll have to ask the teams that one... The Riptide's jerseys have been released already, and are beautiful. Keep an eye out for their launch in the AUDL Store soon - Not sure yet about new jerseys for 2013 teams since uniform deadlines aren't until next week (end of February).

SLUDGEWhere are the AUDL uniforms made?
Adriana: All AUDL uniforms are made out of our local manufacturing facility in Toronto, Canada.

SLUDGEWhich AUDL team is the top-selling jersey? Which team sells the most merch??
Adriana: Top of the league last year (2013) were the Toronto Rush and the Chicago Wildfire.

SLUDGEIn your opinion, what makes a really great designed uniform -- for any sport?
Adriana: Clean fonts, a strong main team design/logo, bright contrasts and a VC logo.

SLUDGEDo you have a favorite design for an AUDL team? If so, which team??
Adriana: I'm REALLY excited to see the finished design for the Montreal Royal, but I'm biased given that I am from Montreal, and that's the last city I played Club ultimate for myself.

SLUDGE: Thanks for your time, Adriana. Anything else you would like to mention?
Adriana: We hope you enjoy them, and pick one up to support your favorite team. The AUDL is doing a lot of positive things for the sport of Ultimate, including launching significant exposure and growth initiatives. Both the AUDL and USA Ultimate are making a huge difference for our sport, and I hope people support both of these associations in whatever way they can.

## [Links inserted by SLUDGE.]

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